These guys like guitar effects. Straight outta Montreal, White Canvas Sky has a similar sound to Native Construct, with a kind of whimsical yet heavy psychedelic vibe. It’s not a style of music I’ve heard much of, maybe because it’s unique, or maybe because I would just never listen to this kind of music. If you want straightforward, quick and easy listening, this isn’t the album to go with. There are definitely a multitude of layers and mood changes in each song, with highs and lows which are cool, but simplicity is also nice, people!
Shine is classified as alternative rock, but I would list it as trippy, jazzy, funk rock. For example, the drum beats are funky, but the guitars are heavily distorted with moments of psychedelic, effect-induced tranquility.
The EP kick-off track “What a Thrill” starts with a slow, sensual intro, with clean guitar going and psychedelic effects floating around in the background, but once the drums kick in, the tranquility leaves to never return. The vocal intensity builds, and vocalist Steve Burgess seemingly starts getting pissed. The song itself isn’t much a thrill, but it’s definitely a roller coaster of moods.
The following song “A Sense of Direction” tricks the listener (or at least me) into thinking it’ll be a more joyous track with the happy-go-lucky, OBNOXIOUS intro guitar riff that repeats itself over and over again, but it’s not a happy song. None of these songs are happy, at least they don’t sound happy. They sound like each band member was fuckin’ miserable and pissed off when recording them. Like goddamn, throw in a fuckin’ major chord and ride it out. The vocals have a low-tone, Jim Morrison thing going on, so you can understand what kind of melancholy jazz we’re working with here.
To clarify, I don’t think these songs are bad or anything; the production quality is solid, and the songs sound pro, I just don’t think that every song should sound like someone has been, or is about to get, stabbed in the head – lighten up the mood a little bit. The single “Shine” shimmers a little bit of light (clever pun number one) onto this morbid graveyard. It appears to express how one feels uplifted by the presence of someone in particular, someone special. That’s nice. However, the instrumentation is still not entirely uplifting. You really have to listen to the lyrics to realize it’s a friendly song. I get The Killers’ “When You Were Young” vibes from this one. Would these guys like me comparing them to The Killers? I don’t know, but they probably wouldn’t like a lot of the shit I’m saying about them, so whatever. At least “Shine” sheds some light and brightens up the mood (clever puns number two and three), but then the closing tracks “Sorting Out the Gems” and “Another Number” pull us back down into the depths of hell.
Meh, what are you gonna do, right?
Written by Keenan Kerr
*edited by Kate Erickson